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By  Benjamin  Franklin 

Printed   and   Sold    by    S.    K  N  E  E  L  A  N  D    in    Queen- 
Street,    i  7  5  5. 




Being  Extra  Numbtr  BS  of  Tarn  M«uim*  OF  HUTOBI  WITH  NOTM  *»o  QOMII 

OBSERVATIONS  concerning  the  Increase  of  Mankind, 
Peopling  of  Countries,  &c. 

TABLES  of  the  proportion  of  Marriages  to  Births,  of  Deaths 
to  Births,  of  Marriages  to  the  numbers  of  inhabitants,  &c. 
form'd  on  observations  made  upon  the  Bills  of  Mortality, 
Christenings,  &c.  of  populous  cities,  will  not  suit  countries;  nor 
will  tables  form'd  on  observations  made  on  full  settled  old  countries 
as  Europe,  suit  new  countries,  as  America. 

2.  For  people  increase  in  proportion  to  the  number  of  mar 
riages,  and  that  is  greater  in  proportion  to  the  ease  and  convenience 
of  supporting  a  family.     When  families  can  be  easily  supported, 
more  persons  marry,  and  earlier  in  life. 

3.  In  cities,  where  all  trades,  occupations  and  offices  are  full, 
many  delay  marrying,  till  they  can  see  how  to  bear  the  charges  of 
a  family;  which  charges  are  greater  in  cities,  as  Luxury  is  more  com 
mon  :  many  live  single  during  life,  and  continue  servants  to  families, 
journeymen  to  Trades,  &c.  hence  cities  do  not  by  natural  generation 
supply  themselves  with  inhabitants;  the  deaths  are  more  than  the 

4.  In  countries  full  settled,  the  case  must  be  nearly  the  same; 
all  Lands  being  occupied  and  improved  to  the  heigh th ;  those  who 
cannot  get  land  must  labour  for  others  that  have  it;  when  labourers 
are  plenty  their  wages  will  be  low;  by  low  wages  a  family  is  sup 
ported  with  difficulty;  this  difficulty  deters  many  from  marriage, 
who  therefore  long  continue  servants  and  single.     Only  as  the  Cit 
ies  take  supplies  of  people  from  the  country,  and  thereby  make  a 
little  more  room  in  the  country,  Marriage  is  a  little  more  incourag'd 
there,  and  the  births  exceed  the  deaths. 

5.  Europe  is  generally  full  settled  with  husbandmen,  manu 
facturers,  &c.  and  therefore  cannot  now  much  increase  in  People: 
America  is  chiefly  occupied  by  Indians,  who  subsist  mostly  by  hunt- 



ing.  But  as  the  hunter,  of  all  men,  requires  the  greatest  quantity 
of  land  from  whence  to  draw  his  subsistence,  (the  husbandman 
subsisting  on  much  less,  the  gardener  on  still  less,  and  the  manu 
facturer  requiring  least  of  all),  the  Europeans  found  America  as 
fully  settled  as  it  well  could  be  by  hunters;  yet  these  having  large 
Tracts,  were  easily  prevailed  on  to  part  with  portions  of  territory 
to  the  new  comers,  who  did  not  much  interfere  with  the  natives 
in  hunting,  and  furnish'd  them  with  many  things  they  wanted. 

6.  Land  being  thus  plenty  in  America,  and  so  cheap  as  that 
a  labouring  man  that  understands  Husbandry,  can  in  a  short  time 
save  money  enough  to  purchase  a  piece  of  new  Land  sufficient  for 
a  plantation,  whereon  he  may  subsist  a  family;  such  are  not  afraid 
to  marry ;  for  if  they  even  look  far  enough  forward  to  consider  how 
their  children  when  grown  up  are  to  be  provided  for,  they  see  that 
more  Land  is  to  be  had  at  rates  equally  easy,  all  circumstances 

7.  Hence  Marriages  in  America  are  more  general,  and  more 
generally  early,  than  in  Europe.     And  if  it  is  reckoned  there,  that 
there  is  but  one  marriage  per  annum  among  one  hundred  persons, 
perhaps  we  may  here  reckon  two;  and  if  in  Europe  they  have  but 
four  Births  to  a  marriage(many  of  their  marriages  being  late)  we 
may  here  reckon  eight,  of  which  if  one  half  grow  up,  and  our  mar 
riages  are  made,  reckoning  one  with  another  at  twenty  years  of  age 
our  people  must  at  least  be  doubled  every  twenty  years. 

8.  But  not  withstanding  this  increase,  so  vast  is  the  Territory 
of  North  America,  that  it  will  require  many  ages  to  settle  it  fully; 
and  till  it  is  fully  settled,  labour  will  never  be  cheap  here,  where 
no  man  continues  long  a  labourer  for  others,  but  gets  a  Plantation 
of  his  own,  no  man  continues  long  a  journeyman  to  a  trade,  but 
goes  among  those  new  settlers  and  sets  up  for  himself,  &c.     Hence 
labour  is  no  cheaper  now  in  Pennsylvania,  than  it  was  thirty  years 
ago,  tho'  so  many  thousand  labouring  people  have  been  imported. 

9.  The  danger  therefore  of  these  Colonies  interfering  with 



their  Mother  Country  in  trades  that  depend  on  labour,  Manu 
factures,  &c.  is  too  remote  to  require  the  attention  of  Great  Britain. 

10  But  in  proportion  to  the  increase  of  the  Colonies  a  vast 
demand  is  growing  for  British  Manufactures,  a  glorious  market 
wholly  in  the  power  of  Britain,  in  which  foreigners  cannot  interfere, 
which  will  increase  in  a  short  time  even  beyond  her  power  of  sup 
plying,  tho'  her  whole  trade  should  be  to  her  Colonies:  Therefore 
Britain  should  not  too  much  restrain  Manufactures  in  her  Colonies. 
A  wise  and  good  mother  will  not  do  it.  To  distress  is  to  weaken, 
and  weakening  the  children  weakens  the  whole  family. 

11.  Besides  if  the  manufactures  of  Britain  (by  reason  of  the 
American  Demands)  should  rise  too  high  in  price,  foreigners  who 
can  sell  cheaper  will  drive  her  merchants  out  of  foreign  markets; 
foreign  manufactures  will  thereby  be  encouraged  and  increased, 
and  consequently  foreign  nations,  perhaps  her  rivals  in  power,  grow 
more  populous  and  more  powerful;  while  her  own  Colonies,  kept 
too  low,  are  unable  to  assist  her  or  add  to  her  strength. 

12.  'Tis  an  ill-grounded  opinion  that  by  the  labour  of  slaves, 
America  may  possibly  vie  in  cheapness  of  manufactures  with  Britain. 
The  labour  of  slaves  can  never  be  so  cheap  here  as  the  labour  of 
working  men  is  in  Britain.     Any  one  may  compute  it.     Interest 
of  money  is  in  the  Colonies  from  six  to  ten  per  Cent.     Slaves  one 
with  another  cost  thirty  £.  Sterling  per  head.     Reckon  then  the 
interest  of  the  first  purchase  of  a  slave,  the  Insurance  or  risque  on 
his  life,  his  cloathing  and  diet,  expenses  in  his  sickness  and  loss  of 
time,  loss  by  his  neglect  of  business.     (Neglect  is  natural  to  the 
man  who  is  not  to  be  benefited  by  his  own  care  or  diligence),  Ex- 
pence  of  a  Driver  to  keep  him  at  work,  and  his  pilfering  from  time 
to  time,  almost  every  slave  being  by  Nature  a  thief,  and  compare 
the  whole  amount  with  the  wages  of  a  manufacturer  of  iron  or  wool 
in  England,  you  will  see  that  labour  is  much  cheaper  there  than  it 
ever  can  be  by  negroes  here.     Why  then  will  Americans  purchase 
slaves?    Because  slaves  may  be  kept  as  long  as  a  man  pleases,  or 


has  occasion  for  their  labour;  while  hired  men  are  continually  leav 
ing  their  master  (often  in  the  midst  of  his  business,)  and  setting 
up  for  themselves.  §.  8. 

13.  As  the  increase  of  people  depends  on  the  encouragement 
of  marriages,  the  following  things  must  diminish  a  Nation,  viz. 
1.  The  being  conquered;  for  the  conquerors  will  engross  as  many 
offices,  and  exact  as  much  tribute  or  profit  on  the  labour  of  the  con 
quered,  as  will  maintain  them  in  their  new  establishment,  and  this 
diminishing  the  subsistence  of  the  natives  discourages  their  mar 
riages,  and  so  gradually  diminishes  them,  while  the  foreigners  in 
crease.  2.  Loss  of  Territory.  Thus  the  Britons  being  driven 
into  Wales,  and  crowded  together  in  a  barren  country  insufficient 
to  support  such  great  numbers,  diminished  till  the  people  bore  a 
proportion  to  the  produce,  while  the  Saxons  increased  on  their 
abandoned  lands;  till  the  Island  became  full  of  English.  And  were 
the  English  now  driven  into  Wales  by  some  foreign  nation,  there 
would  in  a  few  years  be  no  more  Englishmen  in  Britain  than  there 
are  now  people  in  Wales.  3.  Loss  of  Trade.  Manufactures 
exported  draw  subsistence  from  foreign  countries  for  numbers,  who 
are  thereby  enabled  to  marry  and  raise  families.  If  the  nation  be 
deprived  of  any  branch  of  trade,  and  no  new  employment  is  found 
for  the  people  occupy'd  in  that  branch,  it  will  also  be  soon  deprived 
of  so  many  People.  4.  Loss  of  Food.  Suppose  a  nation  has  a 
Fishery,  which  not  only  employs  great  numbers,  but  makes  the 
food  and  subsistence  of  the  people  cheaper.  If  another  nation  be 
comes  Master  of  the  Seas,  and  prevents  the  Fishery,  the  people 
will  diminish  in  proportion  as  the  loss  of  employ,  and  dearness  of 
provision  makes  it  more  difficult  to  subsist  a  family.  5.  Bad 
Government  and  insecure  property.  People  not  only  leave  such 
a  country,  and  settling  abroad  incorporate  with  other  nations,  lose 
their  native  Languages,  and  become  foreigners;  but  the  industry 
of  those  that  remain  being  discourag'd,  the  quantity  of  subsistence 
in  the  country  is  lessen'd,  and  the  support  of  a  family  becomes  more 
difficult.  So  heavy  taxes  tend  to  diminish  a  People.  6.  The 



Introduction  of  slaves.  The  negroes  brought  into  the  English 
Sugar  Islands  have  greatly  diminished  the  whites  there;  the  poor 
are  by  this  means  depriv'd  of  employment,  while  a  few  families 
acquire  vast  Estates,  which  they  spend  on  foreign  luxuries,  and 
educating  their  children  in  the  habit  of  those  luxuries,  the  same 
Income  is  needed  for  the  support  of  one  that  might  have  maintain'd 
one  hundred.  The  Whites  who  have  slaves,  not  labouring,  are 
enfeebled,  and  therefore  not  so  generally  prolific;  the  slaves  being 
work'd  too  hard,  and  ill  fed,  their  constitutions  are  broken,  and  the 
deaths  among  them  are  more  than  the  births;  so  that  a  continual 
supply  is  needed  from  Africa.  The  Northern  Colonies  having  few 
slaves  increase  in  Whites.  Slaves  also  pejorate*  the  Families  that 
use  them;  the  white  children  become  proud,  disgusted  with  labour, 
and  being  educated  in  idleness,  are  rendered  unfit  to  get  a  Living 
by  industry. 

14.  Hence  the  Prince  that  acquires  new  territory,  if  he  finds 
it  vacant,  or  removes  the  natives  to  give  his  own  people  room;  the 
Legislator  that  makes  effectual  laws  for  promoting  of  trade,  in 
creasing  Employment,  improving  land  by  more  or  better  Tillage; 
providing  more  food  by  Fisheries;  securing  property,  &c.  and  the 
man  that  invents  new  trades,  arts  or  manufactures,  or  new  im- 
provments  in  husbandry,  may  be  properly  called  Fathers  of  their 
Nation,  as  they  are  the  cause  of  the  generation  of  multitudes,  by 
the  encouragement  they  afford  to  marriage. 

15.  As  to  Privileges  granted  to  the  married,  (such  as  the  Jus 
trium  Liberorum  among  the  Romans),  they  may  hasten  the  filling  of 
a  country  that  has  been  thinned  by  war  or  pestilence,  or  that  has 
otherwise  vacant  territory;  but  cannot  increase  a  people  beyond 
the  means  provided  for  their  subsistence. 

16.  Foreign  luxuries  and  needless  manufactures  imported 
and  used  in  a  nation,  do,  by  the  same  reasoning,  increase  the  people 
of  the  nation  that  furnishes  them,  and  diminish  the  people  of  the 
nation  that  uses  them. — Laws  therefore  that  prevent  such  impor- 

*Depreciate,  or  degrade. 



tations,  and  on  the  contrary  promote  the  exportation  of  manu 
factures  to  be  consumed  in  foreign  countries,  may  be  called  (with 
respect  to  the  people  that  make  them)  generative  laws,  as  by  in 
creasing  subsistence  they  encourage  marriage.  Such  laws  likewise 
strengthen  a  Country  doubly,  by  increasing  its  own  people  and 
diminishing  its  neighbours. 

17.  Some  European  Nations  prudently  refuse  to  consume  the 
manufactures  of  East  India.    They  should  likewise  forbid  them  to 
their  colonies;  for  the  gain  to  the  merchant  is  not  to  be  compar'd 
with  the  loss  by  this  means  of  people  to  the  Nation. 

18.  Home  Luxury  in  the  great,  increases  the  nation's  manu 
facturers  employ'd  by  it,  who  are  many,  and  only  tends  to  diminish 
the  Families  that  indulge  in  it,  who  are  few.     The  greater  the  com 
mon  fashionable  expence  of  any  rank  of  people,  the  more  cautious 
they  are  of  marriage.     Therefore  luxury  should  never  be  suffer'd 
to  become  common. 

19.  The  great  increase  of  Offspring  in  particular  families  is 
not  always  owing  to  greater  fecundity  of  Nature,  but  sometimes 
to  examples  of  industry  in  the  Heads,  and  industrious  education; 
by  which  the  children  are  enabled  to  provide  better  for  themselves, 
and  their  marrying  early  is  encouraged  from  the  prospect  of  good 

20.  If  there  be  a  sect  therefore,  in  our  nation,  that  regard 
Frugality  and  Industry  as  religious  duties,  and  educate  their  chil 
dren  therein,  more  than  others  commonly  do,  such  sect  must  conse 
quently  increase  more  by  natural  generation,  than  any  other  sect 
in  Britain. — 

21.  The  importation  of  foreigners  into  a  country  that  has  as 
many  inhabitants  as  the  present  employments  and  provisions  for 
subsistence  will  bear,  will  be  in  the  end  no  increase  of  people;  unless 
the  new  comers  have  more  industry  and  frugality  than  the  natives, 
and  then  they  will  provide  more  Subsistence,  and  increase  in  the 
country;  but  they  will  gradually  eat  the  natives  out.     Nor  is  it 



necessary  to  bring  in  foreigners  to  fill  up  any  occasional  vacancy 
in  a  country;  for  such  vacancy  (if  the  Laws  are  good,  §  14,  16)  will 
soon  be  filled  by  natural  generation.  Who  can  now  find  the  vacan 
cy  made  in  Sweden,  France  or  other  warlike  nations,  by  the  Plague 
of  heroism  forty  Years  ago;  in  France  by  the  expulsion  of  the  Protes 
tants;  in  England  by  the  settlement  of  her  Colonies;  or  in  Guinea, 
by  one  hundred  years'  exportation  of  slaves,  that  has  blacken'd 
half  America?  The  thinness  of  inhabitants  in  Spain  is  owing  to 
national  pride  and  idleness,  and  other  causes,  rather  than  to  the 
expulsion  of  the  Moors,  or  to  the  making  of  new  settlements. 

22.  There  is  in  short,  no  bound  to  the  prolific  nature  of  plants 
or  animals,  but  what  is  made  by  their  crowding  and  interfering 
with  each  others'  means  of  subsistence.  Was  the  face  of  the  earth 
vacant  of  other  plants,  it  might  be  gradually  sowed  and  overspread 
with  one  kind  only;  as,  for  instance,  with  Fennel;  and  were  it  empty 
of  other  inhabitants,  it  might  in  a  few  Ages  be  replenish' d  from  one 
nation  only;  as  for  Instance,  with  Englishmen.  Thus  there  are 
suppos'd  to  be  now  upwards  of  One  Million  English  Souls  in  North 
America,  (tho'  'tis  thought  scarce  80,000  have  been  brought  over 
sea)  and  yet  perhaps  there  is  not  one  the  fewer  in  Britain,  but  rather 
many  more,  on  Account  of  the  employment  the  Colonies  afford  to 
manufacturers  at  home.  This  million  doubling,  suppose  but  once 
in  twenty-five  years,  will  in  another  century  be  more  than  the  peo 
ple  of  England,  and  the  greatest  Number  of  Englishmen  will  be  on 
this  side  the  water.  What  an  accession  of  Power  to  the  British 
empire  by  the  Sea  as  well  as  Land!  What  increase  of  trade  and  navi 
gation!  What  numbers  of  ships  and  seamen!  We  have  been  here 
but  little  more  than  one  hundred  years,  and  yet  the  force  of  our 
Privateers  in  the  late  war,  united,  was  greater,  both  in  men  and 
guns,  than  that  of  the  whole  British  Navy  in  Queen  Elizabeth's  time. 
How  important  an  affair  then  to  Britain,  is  the  present  treaty  for 
settling  the  bounds  between  her  Colonies  and  the  French,  and  how 
careful  should  she  be  to  secure  room  enough,  since  on  the  room  de 
pends  so  much  the  increase  of  her  people? 



23.  In  fine,  A  nation  well  regulated  is  like  a  Polypus;  take 
away  a  limb,  its  place  is  soon  supply 'd;  cut  it  in  two,  and  each  de 
ficient  part  shall  speedily  grow  out  of  the  part  remaining.     Thus 
if  you  have  room  and  subsistence  enough,  as  you  may  by  dividing 
make  ten  Polypes  out  of  one,  you  may  of  one  make  ten  nations, 
equally  populous  and  powerful;  or  rather,  increase  a  nation  ten  fold 
in  numbers  and  strength. 

And  since  detachments  of  English  horn  Britain  sent  to  America, 
will  have  their  places  at  home  so  soon  supply'd  and  increase  so  large 
ly  here;  why  should  the  Palatine  Boors  be  suffered  to  swarm  into 
our  settlements,  and  by  herding  together  establish  their  languages 
and  manners  to  the  exclusion  of  ours?  Why  should  Pennsylvania, 
founded  by  the  English,  become  a  colony  of  Aliens,  who  will  shortly 
be  so  numerous  as  to  Germanize  us  instead  of  our  Anglifying  them, 
and  will  never  adopt  our  language  or  customs,  any  more  than  they 
can  acquire  our  complexion? 

24.  Which  leads  me  to  add  one  remark:     That  the  number 
of  purely  white  people  in  the  world  is  proportionably  very  small. 
All  Africa  is  black  or  tawny.     Asia  chiefly  tawny.     America  (ex 
clusive  of  the  new  comers)  wholly  so.     And  in  Europe,  the  Span 
iards,  Italians,  French,  Russians  and  Swedes  are  generally  of  what 
we  call  a  swarthy  complexion ;  as  are  the  Germans  also,  the  Saxons 
only  excepted,  who  with  the  English  make  the  principal  body  of 
white  people  on  the  face  of  the  earth.     I  could  wish  their  numbers 
were  increased.     And  while  we  are,  as  I  may  call  it,  scouring  our 
planet,  by  clearing  America  of  woods,  and  so  making  this  side  of 
our  globe  reflect  a  brighter  light  to  the  eyes  of  inhabitants  in  Mars 
or  Venus,  why  should  we  in  the  sight  of  superior  beings,  darken  its 
people?  why  increase  the  sons  of  Africa,  by  planting  them  in  Ameri 
ca,  where  we  have  so  fair  an  opportunity,  by  excluding  all  blacks 
and  tawneys,  of  increasing  the  lovely  white  and  red?     But  perhaps 
I  am  partial  to  the  complexion  of  my  Country,  for  such  kind  of 
partiality  is  natural  to  Mankind.